American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a new approach to producing critical information about the characteristics of the nation, states, and local communities. The ACS streamlines the decennial census, eliminating the need for a long form in the 2010 Census.   The ACS is an on-going survey with an annual sample size of about 3 million addresses.  Every year the ACS can support the release of single-year estimates for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more.  Information for smaller areas will be based on accumulated samples over 3-year or 5-year intervals.

See the 2006 ACS Handbook for a synopsis of the ACS operations plan.  For more details on the methods and procedures see the Design and Methodology Report

Things to consider when using the American Community Survey

ACS Compass Products - a series of educational materials prepared by the US Census Bureau, including handbooks targeted at different types of ACS users and Power Point presentations. Don't miss the set of common appendices at the end of each handbook.

"Technical Issues Associated with the American Community Survey” [Power Point]

The US Census Bureau also provides guidance on taking differences in data sets into consideration during analysis.

Design and Methodology Report


Subject Definitions

Accuracy of data - provides a basic understanding of the sample design, estimation methodology, and accuracy of the data.

Quality Measures - describes the quality of each annual ACS data release on both national and state levels.

Group Quarters Population - covers the definitions and type codes used for group living situations (GQs).

American Community Survey History

ACS Operations Plan

ACS Operations Plan and Bibliography Documents

Continuous Measurement by Harry A Scarr, presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Public Data Users (APDU), October 16, 1994

Constructing a Major Survey: Operational Plans and Issue for Continuous Measurement by Susan Love, Donald Dalzell, Charles Alexander, presented at the annual meeting of the American Statistical Association (ASA), August 1995

“Overview of the American Community Survey” [Power Point]

Related Topics and sites

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